Richmond Hosts Dueling St. Patrick’s Day Festivals

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RICHMOND (WRIC) – St. Patrick’s Day is almost here, and businesses in downtown Richmond say they’re ready.

The owners of Shamrock the Block decided to move the festival from the Bottom to the Boulevard after 10 years. That had Shockoe restaurants and groups scrambling to come up with a Plan B.

A lot of people were upset about the move, especially because it was announced less than a month before St. Patrick’s Day. But the people in charge of the new Shockoe Fest are excited for a new tradition.

Shockoe Fest was created after Shamrock the Block was moved to the Boulevard after its 10th year in the Bottom.

“In my eyes there’s no bad blood toward Shamrock the Block,” says Shockoe Fest organizer Heather Dixon. “We’re trying to create something new for Shockoe Bottom and Shockoe Valley itself to just bring a new light to the Bottom.”

With only 26 days to make the event happen, Dixon says the event at the farmer’s market will be mellower than shamrock the block.

“We’re going to have an actual kid zone that’s dry–alcohol free,” she says. “We’ll have a moon bounce… face painters. Other than that we do have beer vendors and beer trucks on hand as well as several food vendors that are working with us.”

On the other side of town, Shamrock the Block will have its annual festivities.

Organizers say they had to move because the crowds were getting too big for the Bottom.  Last year, they had about 30,000 people come out.

“We’re just ready for Saturday to come,” says organizer brooks stone. “This happens to be a great space. Wide streets… straight shot… no alley ways. You know, it’s just one venue for the entire thing.”

Shamrock the Block will also have live music, beer trucks and a kids zone. But they say this isn’t a battle.

“There’s enough participants that there can be two events,” Stone says. “There are people that won’t go down there and there are people that won’t come up here. So I think it’s a great opportunity. If 30,000 people come out, that’s great, but if less come out, that’s perfect too.”

Shockoe Fest will be held on 17th Street and Franklin Street. Shamrock the Block is on the Boulevard between Leigh and Myer Streets.

For more information on either festival go to shamrocktheblock.com or  shockoefest.com.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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